Kris Medlen, Jason Heyward Headline Talking Chop's August Braves MVPs and LVPs

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In the month of August, the Braves went 15-14, which is good in the fact that it was at least a winning month, but at a .517 percentage, it was the worst month of the season for the team all year. Such a number is somewhat of a swoon in comparison to the prior three seasons, in which the Braves were .600+ teams throughout August, and we can only hope that this is not so much a glimpse of things to come as much as it is getting the September Swoon out of the way early, and finishing strong instead.

Regardless, as is customary, here are the most valuable, and least valuable players of the Atlanta Braves according to Talking Chop's writing staff; as always, it's decided by votes, and we do our very best to look at a variety of stats and factors when making our votes.

Kris Medlen - Most Valuable Pitcher

Credentials: Five starts in which the Braves won every single one, 35.2 total innings pitched, with the final 24 consecutive innings being completely scoreless, and one complete game shutout. 131 batters were a completely ineffective .213/.237/.228 against Medlen throughout the month, and he punched out 35 hitters while walking just four (8.75 K/BB). Just about every single number was pretty for Kris Medlen throughout August from his 0.50 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 1.48 FIP to his 2.44 SIERA. 1.7 WAR in August alone wasn't just the best mark on the Braves, it was the best mark in all of Major League Baseball.

Kris Medlen's August made this about as an easy of a layup as there possibly could be. With the aforementioned highest WAR total in baseball in August, it was a pretty forgone conclusion that he would be the National League's Pitcher of the Month, and it came to fruition just a day ago. Seriously, just about all of us writers here have really run out of things to say about Kris Medlen's performance, and he's really made it difficult for us to keep reaching for the thesaurus after start after start of simply dominating the competition.

Jason Heyward - Most Valuable Player

Credentials: Appeared in every single game in August, starting in 27 of 29. In 122 plate appearances, Jason hit .268/.328/.527, with a team-best .855 OPS. Overall, Heyward flashed some great power numbers through August, hitting a team-best seven homers, while driving in 17 while scoring 17 times himself, and his .259 isolated-power mark was tops on the team. One-hundredth of a point is what separated Heyward's .363 wOBA from Freddie Freeman's .364 wOBA, and both put up a 130 wRC+, but Jason's importance out in right field as well as his excellent base-running prowess separated him from everyone else. Heyward's 1.3 WAR lead all the Braves in August outright.

For the second time this season, Jason Heyward has earned our top Braves player. If you haven't been paying attention, this has been a year where it's become apparent that Jason Heyward is utilizing his power more than his patience, as his walks are significantly down, but he's already eclipsed his prior home run mark with a good bit of time to go. And at just still 23 now, when he puts all of these tools together, we're going to begin pitying the rest of the league.

Craig Kimbrel - Craig Kimbrel Award for Excellence in Relief

Credentials: Appeared in nine games, pitched 9.0 innings, converted two of three save chances. 33 batters flailed to a .129/.182/.226 line, striking out 21 times and drawing just two walks. Kimbrel allowed just one earned run on just one solo home run, which accounts for his 1.00 ERA. As always, his rate stats look like they were pulled from a video game, as he struck hitters out to the absurd rate of 21.0 K/9, walking men at a 2.00 BB/9 (10.50 K/BB), was efficient with a 0.67 WHIP, and was kind of the unlucky side according to his 0.55 FIP versus his ERA.

Ho-hum, another month, more dominance. The 21.0 K/9 is Kimbrel's highest K/9 rate in his career, and the highest in baseball for pitchers with more than just one inning pitched. And for the second month this season, Kimbrel was apparently so disgustingly, horrifically nasty, that according to statistics like xFIP (-0.24) and SIERA (-0.08), he literally takes runs off of the opposition. Too bad all decimals are rounded up, apparently.

David Ross - David Ross Award for Excellence Off the Bench

Credentials: Appeared in 10 games, started nine, and made 39 plate appearances. Batted .265/.333/.500 (.833 OPS) with two home runs, four RBI. His .359 wOBA was third on the entire team, and his 127 wRC+ was second only to Jason Heyward, and he was worth 0.4 WAR in the month.

Also, on August 8th, David Ross showed Braves Country of the blazing speed he's kept hidden in his back pocket his entire career, stealing his first base ever against the Phillies. Where, o where would the Braves be without David Ross?

Brian McCann - Least Valuable Player

Nobody needs to remind anyone else how much we all love Brian McCann, but there's absolutely no denying the fact that an unhealthy Brian McCann is a critical detriment to the team as a whole, and it's painfully obviously at just his numbers alone. At -0.2 WAR in August, Brian McCann was the least valuable player on the entire roster, and his -0.992 WPA says he nearly cost the Braves a game single-handedly. In 82 plate appearances, Brian hit just .181/.280/.181, with zero home runs, zero extra-base hits and just 13 singles. He struck out 15 times versus just seven unintentional walks.

There's really no need to elaborate on his poor August, we all get it. Brian McCann might try and play tough and set an example, but he's appeared to cross that line of putting the team a little too far in front with this display. "A cyst and a frayed labrum" is what they're saying; I'm no medical expert, but to my understanding "fraying" in any application is a term used to describe something coming apart, even in just small increments. By that deduction, it's not specified where in the labrum this fraying is happening, but in short, Brian McCann's right shoulder is coming apart, and he's trying to play through it. It's not only hurting the Braves, but it's putting his own health in jeopardy. I can't speak for everyone, but I don't think many of us want to see Brian McCann risk worsening his condition by trying to play through it, when at this point there's potential surgery already in the future.

Ben Sheets - Least Valuable Pitcher

How quickly the tides turn for some. A month after he was named the Braves' best starter in July, one full month appears to have shown that the honeymoon just might be over. In five starts in which the Braves went 1-4 in, Sheets pitched 30.1 innings, and 134 batters crushed him to the tune of a .322/.369/.562 batting line, and forfeited six home runs en route to a 5.34 ERA. The longball was clearly Sheets' enemy throughout August, as he allowed a team-worst 1.78 HR/9, with 19% of fly balls leaving the park. Additionally, he had a team-worst 5.38 FIP and 4.56 SIERA, and his 1.55 WHIP was second to Tommy Hanson's 1.85.

Simply put, Ben Sheets did not have a good August, and it all culminated with a trip to the disabled list with inflammation showing in his surgically-repaired and historically balky right shoulder. Hopefully, he can get some relief from his ailments soon and return to contribute positively down the stretch run for the Braves.

Prior month's awards:

April

May

June

July

August

MVPlayer

Michael Bourn

Martin Prado

Jason Heyward

Chipper Jones

Jason Heyward

MVPitcher

Brandon Beachy

Brandon Beachy

Tim Hudson

Ben Sheets

Kris Medlen

MVRoss

David Ross

Nobody

David Ross

Juan Francisco

David Ross

MVKimbrel

Jonny Venters

Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel/Cristhian Martinez

Craig Kimbrel

LVPlayer

Jack Wilson

Eric Hinske

Brian McCann

Dan Uggla

Brian McCann

LVPitcher

Jair Jurrjens

Mike Minor

Mike Minor

Jair Jurrjens

Ben Sheets

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